Dear Liza Minnelli,
“Willkommen, welcome, welcome”!
A few years ago on a television set, I explained
with determination to a French presenter how to advertise a
live caption: Her father made you dance for years; her
mother blackmailed you for years; all the Hollywood fairies
Ladies and Gentlemen, Liza, Mr. O'Neill, Mr. O'Brien and Mr. O'Neill,
But that’s all it was.
Just listen for a second to your vibrato so full of warmth and we perceive
the New York City roar that is not sleeping. It is enough to
surprise a tilt of your gaze and it’s Broadway in its
golden letters that sparkle before your eyes.
In 1969, we discover in the sterile cuckoo the character of a young
girl unlike any other, passionate, a friend, Pookie. And already from the top
of your 23 years is a woman of great maturity at
the devastating humour, entirely devoted to the sincerity of its
characters, which will earn you a first Oscar nomination.
In 1972, it is Sally, the disillusioned singer of the Kit Kat Club, bastringue
Berlin in the 1920s, which spells us in Cabaret. The spell
works on all Hollywood and the small golden statuette is given to you.
Five years later, your couple merges on screen with Robert de Niro
takes us behind the scenes of the biggest music hall stages
with Martin Scorsese’s New York New York. In this
film, you have created «tubes» that Frank Sinatra will have the nice idea of
Then we rediscover you in Arthur, and in the Waltz of
Puppets or Stepping out playing your own role.
But again, it’s just about the movies.
Priestess of the music hall, you are the contemporary incarnation of the
talented American versatility. Actress certainly, but
as much dancer and especially singer.
As a child, your father would say, You can do anything, you just have to
think.” With this recommendation, a lot of work and,
as you say, “adrenaline addict”, you went to the
Conquer New York and conquer yourself.
For more than five decades now, from «Liza with a Z» to
the recording of your latest album «Confessions», you
ensure that the show must go on by marrying, as rare know
still today, one of the jazz traditions where the singer is a
full-fledged orchestra musician.
But you breathed in your modernity by considering each of the
songs that you interpret as part of your own story.
Poignant, euphoric, intoxicating, mischievous, each of your
appearances on stage is transported by an energy and an intensity
who sign your character with big black eyes.
For the pride of the French, this intensity would have been inspired by
French names like those of Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel. Everything has
started for me at the Olympia, in Paris», you report to us. The daughter of the
An American director in Paris, Vincente Minnelli, may have found
in our capital the same freedom as Gene Kelly, as far as possible from
its imposing ancestry.
And of course, how not to talk about your friend Charles Aznavour, whose
you carry the songs across the Atlantic and consider them
your mentor. To symbolize the artistic friendship that has bound you since
long years and that makes us very happy, we saw you all share
both the stage in 1992, during a series of concerts, Carnegie
Hall at the Palais des Congrès.
To repeat the lyrics of one of your songs in Cabaret, you
are definitely a tiger, not a lamb. Yet, you assume
also your fragility, your moving humanity of a woman who
grown, watched and surely cried in the limelight.
Your awareness of this fragility coupled with your generosity,
you have put it at the service of large humanitarian associations. The struggle
against AIDS is one of those struggles that is most important to you. It is
why you have dedicated many concerts to the benefit of AMFAR and
you often perform in France for the association Care. How
forget the faith with which you sang “We are the champions”
during the charity concert in memory of
Queen, he also died of AIDS?
It’s also your own fight against disease, viral encephalitis
in 2000, which you struck down with vibrant heart two years later in
coming back on stage and singing «Liza’s back».
Again, it is your incredible energy that predominates in all
your struggles. And it is this hymn to life and freedom present in
each of your songs that surely helped to make you an icon
of the gay community around the world, as was also your
Mother, Judy Garland.
Despite four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a Grammy of honor for your
career, two Golden Globes, one Emmy, you report in a
recent interview that every time (you) sings(z) New York New
York, (you) imagine this is the first time.”
Your presence on stage is an invitation to the party. Tonight, a
American in Paris will sing us all his joie de vivre on the stage
Olympia – and show us, once again, that the
cabarets are eternal.
Dear Liza Minnelli, we bestow upon you the officer insignia of the
Legion of Honour.